Huge city discovered in the Amazon that changed everything we knew about the first cultures in Latin America International | news

New research has described a vast ancient city in the Amazon that was hidden for thousands of years beneath the jungle’s lush vegetation.

According to the study’s authors, the city changes what we know about the history of the people living in the Amazon.

The city is in the Upano region in the Amazon region of eastern Ecuador.

The houses and squares of this city were connected by an amazing network of roads and canals.

The area lies in the shadow of a volcano that created rich soils, but could also lead to the destruction of society.

Although cities were already known in the highlands of South America, such as Machu Picchu in Peru, it was believed that people in the Amazon were only nomadic or lived in small settlements.

“This is an older site than any other site we know of in the Amazon,” says Professor Stéphane Rosten, research director at France’s National Center for Scientific Research, who led the research.

“We have a Eurocentric view of civilization, but this shows that we have to change our idea of ​​what culture and civilization are.”

“This changes the way we look at Amazonian cultures. Most people imagine small groups, possibly naked, living in huts and clearing the land; “This shows that ancient people lived in complex urban societies,” says co-author Antoine Dorison.

city ​​under the forest

Roads, pathways and canals were found connecting the platforms, suggesting that a large area was occupied. stephan rosten Photo: BBC World

The city was built about 2,500 years ago And, according to archaeologists, people lived there until about 1,000 years ago.

It’s hard to estimate exactly how many people lived there at one time, but scientists say the number was certainly around 10,000, if not 100,000.

Archaeologists excavated the ground, surveying a 300 square kilometer area using laser sensors that can identify the city’s remains beneath dense plants and trees.

This LiDAR technology yielded 6,000 rectangular platforms measuring approximately 20 meters by 10 meters and 2-3 meters in height.

They were arranged in groups of three to six units around a plaza with a central platform.

Scientists believe that there were many houses, but few for ceremonial purposes. A complex at Kilamop included a platform measuring 140 m x 40 m.

These were constructed by cutting hills and building an earthen platform on top.

A network of straight roads and footpaths connected several platforms, one of which extended for 25 kilometres.


Scientists did not have any such concrete evidence about the civilizations of the Amazon. getty images Photo: BBC World

Dr. Dorison said these pathways were the most surprising part of the research.

“The road network is very sophisticated. It is spread far and wide, everything is connected. And there are right angles, which is very impressive,” he says, explaining that it is much more difficult to build a straight road than one that fits into the landscape.

He believes that some had “very powerful meaning”, perhaps connected to some ceremony or belief.

Scientists also identified ditched paths on both sides, which they believe were canals that helped manage the area’s abundant water.

There were signs of threats to the cities: some ditches blocked the entrances to settlements and this may be evidence that there were threats from the surrounding peoples.

Researchers first found evidence of a city in the 1970s, but this is the first comprehensive study to be completed after 25 years of research.

This reveals a large and complex society that appears to be even larger than the Maya societies of Mexico and Central America.

“Imagine if they discovered another civilization like the Maya, but with completely different architecture, land use and ceramics,” says José Iriarte, professor of archeology at the University of Exeter, who was not involved in the research. with.”

A “unique” discovery

The discovery could change our understanding of America’s first inhabitants. getty images Photo: BBC World

Some of the discoveries in South America are “unique,” ​​he explains, pointing to octagonal and rectangular platforms arranged together.

Highlighting the long sunken roads between settlements, he says, societies were clearly well organized and interconnected.

There is not much information about who lived there and what their society was like.

Pits and houses were found on the platforms, as well as jars, stones for grinding plants, and burnt seeds.

The Kilamope and Upano people who lived there probably focused primarily on agriculture. People ate corn and sweet potatoes, and probably drank “chicha”, a type of sweet beer.

Professor Rosten says that early in his career Scientists believed that no ancient groups lived in the Amazon, And maybe it wasn’t worth doing the research.

,but i’m so stubborn, so I did it anyway. Now I have to admit that I am very happy to have made such a big discovery,” he says.

The next step for researchers is to understand what is there in the nearby 300 square kilometer area that has yet to be studied. (yo)

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